In-Vitro Fertilization, abbreviated as IVF, is one of the most efficacious ways used in assisted reproductive technology. IVF treatment is a procedure that involves a series of steps from preparation of the women’s body to produce mature egg cells, collection of mature egg cells, receiving sperm sample, fertilization of egg and sperm in a petri dish, and implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus or keeping the fertilized egg frozen (cryopreserved). Implantation can be done by the doctor to other woman’s uterus, known as a gestational carrier or a surrogate mother, who will conceive the baby for the couple.
In-vitro fertilisation is done for couples who have infertility problems or to avoid any genetic defects in the child. IVF fertility treatment can choose and use the couple’s eggs and sperm, your egg and donated sperm, donated eggs and your partner’s sperm, donated eggs and sperm, or donated embryos.
IVF treatment process is done due to various factors that limit a couple to achieve pregnancy. Here are some of the reasons who need in-vitro fertilisation:
- Absent, damage or blockage on the fallopian tubes: any damage or blockage in the fallopian tubes of women can hinder the egg to pass through to the uterus for fertilization, or the embryo to the uterus for implantation. Fallopian tubes may have been removed due to several reasons such as tubal ligation, tube rupture due to ectopic pregnancy.
- Male sperm production and sperm motility problems: decreased sperm count, weak sperm motility, and sperm abnormalities prevent the ability of the sperm to fertilize an egg.
- A woman with ovulation problems: approximately once a month, a mature egg is released from the ovary for fertilization. Irregular production or unavailability of egg poses a problem in fertilization.
- Couples with a genetic disorder: IVF fertility treatment are done to prevent the baby from getting genetic disorder or any disease that one or both of the couple have.
- Unexplained fertility: there are couples even after thorough fertility tests are done, a doctor may not be able to pinpoint the cause of infertility in one person or both partners.
- Fertility preservation: is done to preserve the egg, sperm or embryos for future use. One or both of the couple may not be ready yet to have a child or is about to undergo treatment that could affect fertility.
- Endometriosis: occurs when endometrial tissues grow outside of the pelvic organs, eventually leading to pain and damage on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus.
IVF fertility has opted because a couple may have tried for at least 2 years with unprotected sex but no success in getting pregnant. IVF treatment can also be done because previous attempts on other assisted reproductive technique have not worked for the couple. In some cases that by choice or by chance due to health-related issues that a woman cannot grow the embryo inside her womb; the couple may opt for a surrogate mother in the IVF process. A surrogate mother or a gestational carrier will conceive the baby for the couple.
Although IVF success rate is high, in-vitro fertilisation still has risks and complications involved. It is important to know these IVF treatment complications so that in case a woman can experience any of these, she can immediately consult her doctor. Some of the IVF fertility risks and complications are the following:
- Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome: is a result of too much hormonal medication in the body. The ovaries will become swollen and the woman will manifest mild to moderate abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid weight gain (10 lbs. for 3-5 days), and shortness of breath.
- Possible risks during egg retrieval include allergic reactions to anesthetic drugs, infection, bleeding, and damage to organs adjacent to the ovaries.
- Ectopic Pregnancy
- Birth defects
- Stress and depression
- Multiple births
- Premature birth and below 2500gms birth weight of the baby